There will be days when it exhausts you, being a shock absorber for everyone else’s sad attitudes toward their own bodies. There will be days when you are wrung out, a sponge cleaning up the messes of others misperceptions. We fight long and hard, you and I, just to be seen for who we are, and heard over the din of debate over our bodies.
Part of me was impatient for it to be over, to stop thinking about the worst and have it be done. I was glad when visiting hours ended and I was glad that he would never know about the eight pounds that I’d gained. But that wasn’t quite true either, because he wouldn’t have cared if I gained eight pounds or eighty. Before his accident, eating had been just another slice on a chore wheel, something to complete before moving on to the next task, but at some point I had begun thinking about the next thing I’d eat even when my mouth was full. I still woke up feeling the possibility of some great, unfolding change, but before long it was just another day, one where my mother no longer pretended to quit smoking and my father’s table saw was covered with boxes. Somewhere between remembering and forgetting was knowing, which was in some way worst of all because it was a constant, creeping ache.